HE study

‘Students’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment’ was commissioned by the Jisc co-design programme under the student innovation strand (August-October 2013). The study team looked at what we know about students’ expectations and experiences of ICT at university. Developments in mobile technology, web and social media trends, and the widespread use of technology in schools are all changing the expectations of arriving students. At the same time the graduate employment market is generating new demands on the curriculum and changing the skills required of recent graduates. Universities often feel caught between the need to provide robust systems for all, and the need to accommodate a diversity of devices, services and subject-specific innovations.

1. The study analysed existing research into students’ ICT ownership, practice and expectations. The study team are grateful to the many institutions that provided their own findings – on a confidential basis – to support this analysis.

2. The study briefly examined current and likely future practice in schools, and in graduate employment contexts, and concluded that more work was needed to determine how the expectations and academic needs of students are likely to change.

3. The study undertook original interview/focus group work with students, institutional actors and stakeholders.

4. Finally the study considered what universities are doing to gather information in this area and to engage students in ongoing conversations about their ICT needs and expectations, including through students as change agents approaches.

Preliminary findings and recommendations from the study are in the process of being consulted on, via this blog and a series of live events. The relevant documents can be accessed below. Meanwhile, Jisc will commission a complementary study into learner expectations and experiences of the digital environment in FE, early in 2014.


Executive summary as published by Jisc, June 2014

Background including details of previously funded studies in this area

Component studies:

Preliminary Recommendations for consultationSee also a selection of relevant studies used for analysis, including previous work by Jisc and the co-design partnersThe study was carried out by consultants Helen Beetham and Joanna Wild, and by David White at Oxford University’s Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning unit.

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